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LPAC Endorsements & Virtual Event

LPAC (Lesbian Political Action Committee) whose mission is to build the political power of LGBTQ women announced their latest slate of endorsements with seven LGBTQ women ready to lead & champion LPAC's values. The new endorsees include State Rep. Beth Doglio (U.S. House, WA-10), State Sen. Debbie Ingram (Vermont Lieutenant Governor), Kate Lieber (OR State Senate), Julie Jordan (GA State House), State Rep. Renitta Shannon (GA State House), State Rep. Lois Reckitt (ME State House) & Jessica Benham (PA State House). Stephanie Sandberg, LPAC’s Executive Director stated, “LPAC is committed to building a bench of progressive LGBTQ women candidates & this group of endorsees reflects that mission. From state lawmakers running for federal office to first-time candidates, we are proud to support a group of women who are working to get the nation back on track.” LPAC will be hosting a Virtual Happy Hour on May 7th at 7P EST with Congressional Candidate Gina Ortiz Jones & LPAC Board member & CNN Political Commentator Hilary Rosen. Gina is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas's 23rd Congressional district. She previously ran in 2018 coming within 1,000 votes of upsetting Republican Will Hurt. This cycle the seat is open & she has put together an amazing campaign to win in November & become the third LGBTQ woman in the House. There is no cost to participate but donations to LPAC or directly to Gina are welcome. LPAC was founded in 2012 by a group of LGBTQ women seeking to create a place & voice at the power table for our community. They do this by endorsing & investing in candidates directly & supporting them through independent expenditure campaigns. They’ve raised more than $5.5 million & endorsed more than 125 candidates.
For More Info: teamlpac.com
LISTEN: Michelle Clunie Talks “Queer As Folk” Virtual Reunion

Pass Essential Workers Bill of Rights

While Trump is attempting to force workers to work in unsafe food processing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) & Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) sent their proposal for an Essential Workers Bill of Rights to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) & Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cosigned with over 50 additional members of the House & Senate.  Senator Warren stated, “Frontline workers -- including health care workers, transit workers, farm workers, grocery workers, domestic workers & delivery workers -- are risking their lives to keep America running. Congress has a responsibility to protect them & their families. Essential workers in all fields lack the basic safety equipment & guarantees they need & many essential workers are low-wage workers who were underpaid with minimal job protections even before this crisis hit. The next relief package needs to put these workers front & center & include our Essential Workers Bill of Rights." Representative Khanna concluded, "Every day this crisis continues, more & more essential workers risk their lives on the front lines so we can get urgently needed resources & services. That work, undervalued for far too long, is finally being recognized for what it really is. The grocery clerk that packs our groceries behind a plastic shield, the bus driver sanitizing seats between shifts & the security guard on watch from a distance: these heroic workers are keeping this country afloat. They deserve every benefit & protection we can give them, starting with those outlined in our Essential Workers Bill of Rights."
Read Letter Here…
LISTEN: Michelle Clunie Talks “Queer As Folk” Virtual Reunion

“Queer As Folk” Online Reunion (Audio)

This week I talked with actor Michelle Clunie about the “Queer As Folk” virtual 20th anniversary cast & crew reunion that takes place Friday May 1st at 11A PST/2P EST on YouTube. This must-attend livestream event is a fundraiser for CenterLink & its network of over 250 LGBTQ community centers. It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago when we first entered the hallowed club Babylon & met Michael, Ben, Ted, Emmett, Melanie & the whole “Queer As Folk” gang. This Friday May 1st they’re back – better than ever - to celebrate the reunion of cast, crew, writers, directors & guest stars to raise awareness of the need to support LGBTQ centers all over the world. Scott Lowell (Ted) will host members of the “Queer As Folk” cast & crew including Clunie, Sharon Gless, Peter Paige, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison & Robert Gant. Guest actors from your favorite episodes will also be joining as well as “Queer As Folk” creator executive producers Ron Cowen & Dan Lipman & more. During this pandemic LGBTQ community centers have continued to serve their communities providing vital often life-saving services such as medical care, mental health counseling, virtual support groups, filling prescriptions, providing hot meals & check-in phone calls for older adults. With cancelled galas, Pride events, fundraisers, etc. our LGBTQ community centers could be forced to shrink services resulting in thousands of LGBTQ people to go without care. I talked to Michelle about what she hopes to accomplish with this livestream fundraising event & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN
For More Info: For Info: CenterLink.org

Trump Attacking LGBTQ Health Care

In the midst of the COVID-10 pandemic the Trump-Pence administration is undermining the rights & welfare of our LGBTQ community by putting a vulnerable population at increased risk for discrimination. The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is one step closer to finalizing a major change to the federal regulation implementing the civil rights provision, Section 1557, of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to remove explicit protections for LGBTQ people in health care programs & activities by excluding protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping & gender identity. Alphonso David HRC President stated, “News flash Mr. President — we get sick, we need health care & we should be protected under law. Time after time, the Trump-Pence administration has methodically worked to undermine the rights & welfare of LGBTQ people by rolling back existing protections. Amid a global pandemic — which is already disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people — the Trump administration’s efforts to remove existing non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community is unacceptable, blatantly offensive & cruel. We cannot accept an administration that continues to treat us like second class citizens. We will fight this policy & fight to get a pro-equality President into office this November who represents all of us." As the White House pushes back on reports of HHS Secretary Azar's possible removal, in the meantime HHS’s is rushing for a final review by other agencies signaling that publication in the federal register is imminent. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs or activities. If this happens it will be a giant step backwards to say the least.
For More Info: hrc.org
LISTEN: Jonathan Calixto Talks MTV's New Snapchat Series

Equality Florida’s Virtual Variety Show

Equality Florida will host “Equality LIVE,” an online virtual variety show Sunday April 26th from 12:30P to 8P EST on Equality Florida’s Facebook page & YouTube channel. The event will spotlight five Florida communities that were forced to cancel annual galas due to COVID-19 & will feature a powerhouse 60-minute show from 7P to 8P EST with a special message from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren & a statewide update & call to action from Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith. Smith stated, “Equality LIVE is a place for our community to connect, help each other in the midst of a crisis & prepare for important battles ahead for LGBTQ equality. Even as we respond to the pandemic, we know that anti-LGBTQ attacks continue & that we have to be in a strong position to mobilize pro-equality voters in November.” Joining “Equality LIVE” special guests confirmed include Latin Grammy Award Winner Nestor Torres, Jeanette Jennings, Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo, Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones, Florida State Representative Amy Mercado, Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida State Representative Jennifer Webb, Key West Mayor Teri Johnston, Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie, Attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, Dr. Julie C. Servoss, Calvin Arsenia, Vashai Avionce, Colleen Orender, Matthew McGee, Jennifer Real, Yoli Mayor & Quixotic. Smith concluded, “COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting LGBTQ youth, the transgender community, people living with HIV & all marginalized communities. Equality LIVE is an opportunity for community leaders to join us in discussing how we respond to those urgent needs.”
For More Info: eqfl.org/equalitylive
LISTEN: Jonathan Calixto Talks MTV's New Snapchat Series
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™
SUPPORT OUTTAKE™ @ OUR EQUALITY STORE 

Celebrating Lesbian Trailblazers (Audio)

Lesbian Visibility Week runs April 20th to 26th & is celebrated worldwide since it was first established in 2008 as Lesbian Visibility Day. Lesbians are often less visible than gay men & our contributions are often under reported but there are some amazing stories out there. I talked with Leslie Cohen about the legendary nightclub for women Sahara that she established with three of her friends in May of 1976 that existed until December of 1979 on Manhattan’s fashionable Upper East Side. Cohen, Michelle Florea, Linda Goldfarb & Barbara Russo created New York City’s first upscale women’s club that showcased women in art, politics & music. On Thursday night the line went around the block when both men & women were invited in for political fundraisers & cabaret. Celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Patti Smith, Pat Benatar, Warren Beatty, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug & Elaine Noble, the first openly gay state Representative from Massachusetts appeared or performed there. This led to Leslie & her partner Beth Suskin becoming the models for the iconic sculpture “Gay Liberation,” in Greenwich Village which commemorates the Stonewall riots & was declared a national monument by President Obama in 2016. Cohen stated, “I’m happy being a lesbian. I’ve had a lot of joy & a lot of fun & I want young people to know that. I have found love. I’ve been with my now wife for 42 years & it’s possible. You will find happiness.” I talked to Leslie about how Sahara changed the course of her life & her spin on the future of our LGBTQ civil rights in this exclusive audio interview. LISTEN
For More Info: lesbianvisibilityweek.com
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

New Digital Program “PFLAG Connects”

PFLAG National launches “PFLAG Connects” extending its support, education & advocacy efforts further into digital space. The new platform provides the organization’s large national network of local chapters with tools, training, starter kits & dedicated staff support to transition chapter meetings, support services & events online. Through this program PFLAG connects communities, families & LGBTQ+ loved ones now & into the future. Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National stated, “In the weeks that have marked dramatic & unprecedented changes for families the world over, the PFLAG Chapter Network continues to be a vital resource to local communities as the extended family of the LGBTQ+ community. Families turn to us for support & PFLAG continues to meet those needs by providing support meetings & virtual hugs, timely & topical education, training & technical support & influential advocacy through PFLAG Connects.” PFLAG Connects includes a weekly live streaming event “Something to Talk About Live!” to engage people on Facebook & YouTube in timely topic-driven conversations. This Thursday April 23rd at 4:30P ET Something to Talk About Live! will feature a conversation with Rev. Troy Perry founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, & Pastor Jay Bakker son of Tammy Faye & Jim Bakker & founder of Revolution Church who was honored in 2012 by PFLAG National with the Straight for Equality in Faith award. Jamie Curtis, Director of Chapter Engagement concluded, “Offering these great tools through PFLAG Connects is a giant step in meeting the needs of our communities in this new reality of social distancing. Our job is not done, though. Having the tools & knowing or having access to use them varies from chapter to chapter, community to community. That is why we have built-in training & direct support for chapter leaders as they navigate virtual meetings.”
For More Info: pflag.org
LISTEN: Jonathan Calixto Talks MTV's New Snapchat Series
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

LGBTQ Military Community Got Talent

The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) the nation’s largest organization of LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, their families & allies have announced the launch of their very own talent competition “MMAA’s Got Talent”. As we all try to cope with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 MMAA is hoping to raise four LGBTQ community & allies spirits while also raising critical funds in their fight for fairness & equality. From singing to playing an instrument or even a magic trick, it can be any family friendly talent you have. So to find out if you have what it takes to win submit a video showcasing your talent! The top submissions will be selected by MMAA staff & then the public will cast their votes for the winner. Each $1 donation will count as one vote, after all it is a fundraiser. The winner will win a brand new Facebook portal & bragging rights as the winner of the very first MMAA's Got Talent. Since 1993 Modern Military Association of America (formally American Military Partner Association & OutServe-SLDN) have formed an united voice for our LGBTQ military & veteran community. It’s been a year since the Trump-Pence administration implemented its ban on transgender people serving in the military. MMAA's Got Talent is a great way to support this important LGBTQ organization during these challenging times. MMAA is a non-partisan, non-profit (501c3) organization working to make a real difference in the lives of our modern military families through education, advocacy & support. They also provide free, direct legal services for the LGBTQ & HIV+ military & veteran community.
For More Info: modernmilitary.org 
LISTEN: Jonathan Calixto Talks MTV's New Snapchat Series
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

“Wrong Distance Relationship” (AUDIO)


This week I talked with Jonathan Calixto about his part on MTV's new season of “Wrong Distance Relationship” currently on the Snapchat platform. The timely series produced by Hoff Productions follows four couples in long distance relationships balancing careers, everyday life & being away from the person they love as they explore how far is too far when it comes to love. Jonathan Calixto & Brandon Reyes are the first LGBTQ couple to be featured on the series. Jonathan Calixto is living in NYC as a fashion & lifestyle correspondent at BELLA Magazine & is in a relationship with forensic scientist Brandon Reyes from Manassas, Virginia. They met two years ago on Tinder & they are navigating what it means to be 257 miles apart & in love. Jonathan is at the peak of his career as a correspondent & micro-influencer (@ThisisJCali) building his platform & experience in NYC with aspirations to be the next Ryan Seacrest. Currently he’s working on hosting “BELLA Make it Work” sharing content from fashion, lifestyle & a peak into his Peruvian culture. Brandon received his big break in a small town by landing his dream job in forensic science & has no plans on relocating. I talked to Jonathan about what he hopes to accomplish with “Wrong Distance Relationship,” how he’s dealing with social distancing & stay home orders in NYC during the COVID-19 pandemic & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. New episodes of MTV’s “Wrong Distance Relationship” air on Tuesdays. LISTEN
For More Info: thisisjcali.com
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

One World: Together At Home Rocks

Curated by Lady Gaga the digitally streamed & telecasted global concert event "One World: Together At Home" raised $127.9 million for support of frontline workers & the World Health Organization in the war against COVID-19. The digital live from home performances were joined by celebrities & testimonials from frontline workers including health care providers & support staff who are caring for the sick & the dying from this pandemic as well as tributes to the food service employees, child care providers, grocery store workers, delivery people & other essential workers who are risking their own health & safety to ensure that we all have what we need to maintain our health during this deadly pandemic. The Saturday night two-hour telecast event aired Saturday night on ABC, NBC, CBS, The CW, iHeartMedia & Bell Media networks & platforms in Canada & internationally on BBC One with an all-star lineup of musicians including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Kacey Musgraves, Stevie Wonder, Shawn Mendes, Keith Urban, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Celine Dion, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Andrea Bocelli, J Balvin, Camila Cabello, Burna Boy, & Pharrell Williams. The six-hour digital streaming event streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon Prime Video & more featured appearances by The Killers, Adam Lambert, Christine & the Queens, Ellie Goulding, Kesha, Jack Johnson, Juanes, Rita Ora, Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum, Maren Morris, SuperM, along with Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Heidi Klum, Jason Segal, Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tim Gunn, Megan Rapinoe, Lilly Singh, Jack Black, Jameela Jamil, James McAvoy & Lindsey Vohn. The grand finale included a brilliant & moving performance by Lady Gaga, John Legend, Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli in a spectacular four-part harmony with piano virtuoso Lang Lang performing “The Prayer” the song that became an inspirational standard after Dion & Bocelli recorded it separately & together 21 years. WATCH VIDEO  
For More Info: globalcitizen
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

GLAAD To Host Cyber Fundraiser Event

GLAAD has announced that it will host “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” a livestream event on Sunday April 26th at 8P EST on their YouTube channel & Facebook Live. The event will highlight the LGBTQ response to COVID-19 & amplify messages of acceptance & affirmation to the LGBTQ community & people living with HIV during this unprecedented time. Performers will included Kesha & Melissa Etheridge with special guests including Billy Eichner, Matt Bomer, Lilly Singh, Adam Lambert, Bebe Rexha, Dan Levy, Mj Rodriguez, Wilson Cruz, Kathy Griffin, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, Michelle Visage, Javier Muñoz, Sean Hayes, Sharon Stone & Tatiana Maslany. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “At a time when some LGBTQ people could be isolating in homes that are not affirming, GLAAD is bringing together the biggest LGBTQ stars & allies to send messages of love, support & acceptance. So many LGBTQ people, especially our youth, depend on support from local community centers around the country & during this time of financial distress, we must come together as a community to ensure that all LGBTQ organizations can continue their life-saving work.” The livestream will raise funds for LGBTQ community centers that are members of CenterLink a coalition of more than 250 LGBTQ community centers globally. Denise Spivak, Interim CEO of CenterLink concluded, “LGBTQ centers are the heart of the community & throughout the COVID-19 pandemic these centers have continued to provide vital connectivity & services, pivoting to virtual programming, modifying in-person services when possible & ensuring that their communities have resources & support when they need it the most.”
For More Info: glaad.org
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Boston Pride Fund Grants Announced

Though Boston Pride has been postponed until June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic they have announced the 39 awardees of the 2020 Boston Pride Community Fund grants in support of its mission to promote social justice for the LGBTQ community & beyond. Kristen Porter, Boston Pride Community Fund Chair stated, “The Boston Pride Community Fund recognizes the innovative & intersectional work happening at the community-based & grass roots levels. By remaining steadfast in our support of these efforts during this pandemic, we embrace what is possible for the future of the LGBTQ community & celebrate the positive impact these grassroots & nonprofit initiatives have.” For some groups the grant helps provide the critical resources needed to carry out their missions. Linda DeMarco, President of Boston Pride concluded, “As an organization, we have worked hard to help strengthen grassroots organizations that help serve our community. They are important now more than ever before, as we are in a public health emergency. These organizations contribute to the fabric of our community & represent the LGBTQ community from neighborhoods in Boston & beyond.” For organizations who applied for grants to use for 2020 events that are now cancelled or postponed due to the public health state of emergency Boston Pride has revised the terms of the award allowing the organizations to use the funds in whatever manner they determine is best for them and the people whom they serve. For 50 years Boston Pride produces events & activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect & awareness in Greater Boston & beyond fostering diversity, unity, visibility & dignity they educate, communicate & advocate by building & strengthening community connections.
For More Info: bostonpride.org
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (VIDEO)

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus has created a fabulous audience experience with a virtual performance of “Everything Possible” by singer-songwriter Fred Small by using their smart phones & singing from their homes. The video is dedicated to all those who are impacted by COVID-19 including the health care providers & support staff who are caring for the sick & the dying as well as to the food service employees, child care providers, grocery store workers, delivery people, postal carriers, sanitation workers & other essential workers who are risking their own health & safety to ensure that we all have what we need to maintain our health during this deadly pandemic. Reuben M. Reynolds III BGMC Music Director stated, “We are in awe of those who are doing so much to keep us safe & healthy during this time. We are so grateful to the health care workers, janitors, childcare providers, grocery store employees & so many others who are still going to work to ensure our health & our safety. We wanted to find a way to give our thanks so we turned to what we do best, which is to sing.” Craig Coogan BGMC Executive Director concluded, “Like everyone else, we’re looking for creative ways to stay connected while we stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This was an incredibly moving project to work on & we hope it brings some measure of peace & comfort to those who watch it.” In Massachusetts we're standing third in the nation as we endure our peek weeks of COVID-19 with 26,867 cases, 4,316 recovered & 844 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. WATCH VIDEO  
For More Info: bgmc.org
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Pass The Essential Workers Bill of Rights

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) & Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) have unveiled a proposal for an Essential Workers Bill of Rights to protect frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve also called for the next coronavirus relief package to pass Congress to include the policies in the Essential Workers Bill of Rights. Senator Warren stated, “Essential workers are the backbone of our nation’s response to coronavirus. We have a responsibility to make sure essential workers have the protections they need, the rights they are entitled to & the compensation they deserve. The next relief package must put all workers front & center -- but it must also specifically include the policies in our Essential Workers Bill of Rights.” Representative Khanna concluded, “Nearly 60 million Americans are still working to keep our internet running, to deliver our groceries, to make sure we have electricity & to care for the sick. In an age of automation, we are reminded of the dignity & importance of work that is not remote. This crisis needs to open our eyes to the value of workers who are often invisible & we need to give them the pay & benefits they deserve.” We’ve all seen people still working at hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, day-care centers & warehouses without adequate protective gear such as masks & gloves as they deal with the high demands & needs of the American people during COVID-19 crisis that has already claimed over 20,000 lives in this country. The Essential Workers Bill of Rights is crucial to adequately compensate & protect these brave workers.
For More Info: warren.senate.gov
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

COVID-19 Impacting People With HIV

Leading HIV organizations have united to ensure people living with HIV receive detailed & culturally responsive information regarding the coronavirus. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic 10 national community-centered HIV service & advocacy organizations partnered to create a resource guide focused on supporting people living with HIV (PLHIV). This document “The COVID-19 & People Living with HIV: Frequently Asked Questions” provides clear & culturally responsive information to ensure PLHIV & communities disproportionately impacted by HIV have a reliable resource for the latest information to help them protect & take care of themselves. This resource guide reflects the clinical practices & from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Infectious Diseases Society (IDSA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), health departments & other local, national & global public health entities. Jesse Milan, Jr., President & CEO of AIDS United stated, “The organizations creating this much needed resource bring critical perspectives & expertise about the health & well-being of people living with HIV in this pandemic & our partnership on it is a model for how our community can support each other in surviving the COVID-19 crisis.” Murray Penner, Executive Director, North America, for Prevention Access Campaign/U=U added, “Our organizations agreed it was critical to develop a well-informed resource for people with HIV about COVID-19 & we therefore are pleased to release this document.” Naina Khanna, Executive Director of Positive Women’s Network – USA concluded "People living with HIV have specific healthcare needs & are understandably anxious about our own health & that of our loved ones. We hope that this factsheet will be helpful in providing accurate, up to date information about how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect our communities & in sharing resources for support."
Read Document…
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Lesbian Icon Phyllis Lyon Dies (VIDEO)

Pioneering lesbian & civil rights activist Phyllis Lyon has died at age 95. Lyons & her wife Del Martin who passed in 2008 cofounded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in San Francisco in 1955 becoming the first social & political organization for lesbians in the United States. They both acted as president & editor of The Ladder until 1963 & remained involved in the DOB until joining the National Organization for Women (NOW) as the first lesbian couple to do so. Kate Kendell who was mentored by Lyon & former National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director stated, “It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Phyllis Lyon has left this life. She died peacefully this morning at 95 of natural causes. She & Del are dancing again. I will miss her so much.” Rea Carey Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force added, “I join so many others in mourning the passing of Phyllis Lyon. The saying that we stand on the shoulders of giants, is never more true when talking about being an activist & learning from Phyllis & Del who founded the first lesbian organization in 1955, Daughters of Bilitis. Two of the most amazing women I've ever had the honor to meet.” Ken Henderson Executive Director of Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation added, “R.I.P. Phyllis Lyon, a pioneer in the fight for equality & founder of Lyon-Martin Health Services. You made the most of your 95 years & served the LGBTQ community well. May the angels welcome & celebrate you.” LGBTQ Iconic Activist Cleve Jones concluded, “I'm very sad to learn of the death this morning of Phyllis Lyon. I met Phyllis & Del in 1972 & it changed my life. Two of the most remarkable people I've ever known.” WATCH VIDEO
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

LGBTQ Global COVID-19 Fund

OutRight Action International has launched the OutRight COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund. The fund will offer emergency financial resources to LGBTQ organizations around the world who are serving people impacted by COVID-19 & support OutRight’s work to document & respond to the impacts of the crisis on our LGBTQ communities. The first disbursement of $100,000 is open for applications. Jessica Stern Executive Director of OutRight Action International stated, “During times of crisis vulnerable communities become even more vulnerable. LGBTIQ people already experience barriers to access to health, disproportionate levels of domestic & family violence & scapegoating. Under the COVID-19 pandemic LGBTIQ people are also cut off from community centers & events where we can be truly ourselves and safe. It is OutRight’s duty & privilege to step up & support LGBTIQ organizations serving their respective communities in this time of crisis & isolation. I am immensely grateful to our founding partners Calvin Klein, Inc., Microsoft Corp. & the Dunn Family Charitable Foundation for their leadership & solidarity with the LGBTIQ community at this uncertain time.” The fund will offer one-time general operating grants of $2,500-$10,000 to LGBTQ organizations in regions outside of North America & Europe that are addressing issues exacerbated by COVID-19 facing LGBTQ people including access to basic needs such as healthcare, food, emergency shelter & Wi-Fi. The fund will also address the economic impact, such as unemployment & poverty as well as domestic & family violence against LGBTQ people & protection of human rights, safety & security of LGBTQ people in times of crisis. OutRight is seeking additional corporate partners & celebrity ambassadors for the fund & is also accepting donations from concerned individuals.
For More Info: outrightinternational.org
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Boston LGBTQ COVID-19 Update

Boston Pride & the City of Boston have announced that Pride events scheduled for June 2020 will be postponed to June 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The new date for the Boston Pride Parade & Festival will be Saturday June 12th 2021. Mayor Martin J. Walsh stated, “I know this was a very hard decision to make & I know it’s very hard news to hear, but it’s the right decision. As we fight the coronavirus pandemic, everyone’s safety & health is our top priority. To our LGBTQ community, we may not be able to celebrate Boston Pride 50th Anniversary this summer, but once we are able, we’ll have the biggest & strongest Pride to date. The partnership between Boston Pride & the City of Boston has never been stronger & I look forward to joining everyone to commemorate the many years of fighting for equality.” Life in Boston has become intense to say the least. For over 3 weeks we’ve had a 'Stay-At-Home Advisory' & this week new measures were implemented including an advisory to wear a face covering when outside of our homes & a recommended curfew to stay inside from 9P to 6A until May 4th. Social distancing remains the new normal & all sports facilities at city parks including basketball, tennis & street hockey courts are closed. Taking a walk has become unnerving with people walking towards you & riding a bike on abandoned city streets feels like 3A in broad daylight. These are scary times. As of April 7th Massachusetts has had 15,202 cases of coronavirus & 356 deaths & in Boston we’ve had 2,287 confirmed cases of COVID-19 & 25 deaths. All LGBTQ events have been cancelled or postponed in Massachusetts including the Fenway Health’s Men’s Party & Women’s Dinner were cancelled last month & both Wicked Queer Boston’s LGBTQ Film Festival has been postponed & Provincetown International Film Festival had been cancelled until June 2021. Saty Safe & Healthy.
For More Info: bostonpride.org
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Hungary Strives To Ban Trans Rights

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic Hungary's ruling party is proposing a severe law to ban transgender people from changing their sex designated on birth, marriage & death certificates & other official documents. As we reported last week anti-LGBTQ extremists are using the COVID-19 crisis to crack down on LGBTQ people around the world. Jay Gilliam HRC Global Director stated, “It is shameful that just a day after Hungary’s Parliament granted emergency powers to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to confront the global COVID-19 crisis, one of its first actions is to attack the transgender community. This is just one example of how governments are restricting the freedoms & rights of LGBTQ people & other marginalized communities, unnecessarily putting lives at risk in the midst of a global pandemic. Governments assuming extra-legal powers in times of crisis like this pose real threats to LGBTQ communities. Even more painfully, this attack in Hungary comes after the international community came together to celebrate transgender people for Transgender Day of Visibility.” The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatović, called on Hungary’s parliament not to adopt the law & said the measure was in contravention of human rights standards & the case law of the European court of human rights. Mijatović stated, “Transgender persons have the right to legal recognition of their gender based on self-determination. This is an essential step to ensure respect for their human rights in all areas of life. Legal gender recognition is a matter of human dignity.” So Please Stay Safe & Healthy in this pandemic but with Eyes Wide Open.
For More Info: hrc.org 
LISTEN: Filmmaker Nicole Conn Talks New Stunning Film
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More Beautiful For Having Been Broken

This week I talked with filmmaker Nicole Conn about her new award winning must-see feature film “More Beautiful For Having Been Broken” that will be released in partnership with Vision Films & Wolfe Video beginning April 7th. “More Beautiful For Having Been Broken” is a story about a distraught FBI agent suspended from her job & struggling with the death of her mother who escapes to the small mountain town she use to visit as a child. She is befriended by a special needs boy who possesses the extraordinary gift of healing others through his unbroken spirit & unique outlook on life. The film stars Australian actress, Zoë Ventoura (Home & Away, Packed to the Rafters), Kayla Radomski of “So You Think You Can Dance” fame & an amazing performance by 11-year-old Cale Ferrin who was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia a rare genetic disease often marked by congenital defects & short stature. Joining the stellar cast are Bruce Davison (Star Trek / X-Men), French Stewart (3rd Rock from the Sun), Brooke Elliott (Drop Dead Diva), Harley Jane Kozak (Parenthood), Gaby Christian (South of Nowhere), Kay Lenz, Wally Kurth & Gabrielle Baba-Conn (Conn’s real-life daughter) who is making her feature debut. “More Beautiful For Having Been Broken" is very personal to Conn as it pays homage to Conn’s daughter & in particular to her son Nicholas who has special needs & is medically fragile. I talked to Nicole about what she hopes to accomplish with this film and how she & her family are coping in these challenging times. LISTEN DVD AVAILABLE
   
For More Info: nicoleconn.com
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LGBTQ COVID-19 NYC Update

Though New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement on the tent hospital in Central Park saying that her office “will remain vigilant to ensure discrimination does not occur at this — or any other — facility” Franklin Graham’s organization Samaritan’s Purse has turned his makeshift hospital for the COVID-19 pandemic in Central Park to a place where volunteers & tents were erected with anti-LGBTQ propaganda. Graham’s organization which is funding the facility put an anti-LGBTQ filter in place for volunteers including healthcare workers. Graham’s group is asking volunteers to read & abide by the following statement, “God instituted monogamous marriage between male & female as the foundation of the family & the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male & one genetic female.” The statement goes further to say that those who are unrighteous will be sentenced to “everlasting punishment in hell.” Chris Fleming, Spokesman for Accountable for Equality stated, “With New York City the epicenter of the COVID-19 Crisis, this behavior by Franklin Graham is despicable & flat out blasphemous. Healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line to save New Yorkers from this deadly pandemic, and there is no time to be peddling nonsense as a litmus test to help. New Yorkers have no time for nonsense when it comes to helping the sick & elderly & this practice by Graham is the height of nonsense & the Mayor must order Samaritan’s Purse to end this ridiculous practice immediately. Lives are on the line." Graham insists that LGBTQ people will be treated fairly by the confirmed anti-LGBTQ workers at his tent hospital but that has yet to be the case. Our NYC LGBTQ community should avoid this facility if possible.
For More Info: accountableforequality.org
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COVID-19 Empowers & Creates Tyrants

As leaders around the world pass emergency decrees & legislation expanding their reach during the Coronavirus pandemic the big concern is if they relinquish this power after the pandemic subsides. We’re watching daily how the Trump administration is handling this situation but in other countries it’s even more questionable. In Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has taken the authority to impose curfews & censor the news media as journalists are being sued & intimidated for criticizing the government’s response to the outbreak. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel authorized an internal security agency to track citizens using a secret trove of cellphone data developed for counterterrorism. By tracing people’s movements the government can punish those who defy isolation orders with up to six months in prison. Fionnuala Ni Aolain, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism & Human Rights stated, “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian & repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.” Globally with new emergency laws there has been a resurgence of old fears of martial law. The Philippine Congress passed legislation last week that gave President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers & $5.4 billion to deal with the pandemic. Lawmakers watered down an earlier draft law that would have allowed the president to take over private businesses. Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties a Philippine Rights Group stated, “This limitless grant of emergency powers is tantamount to autocracy”, noting that Mr. Duterte had once compared the country’s Constitution to a “scrap of toilet paper.” So Stay Safe & Healthy but with Eyes Wide Open.
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